President’s Blog

August 9th Update

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We are still in Port Hardy as the ferry I was planning to take broke down so I will go up to Prince Rupert tomorrow to visit my old friend and activist Gordon Sebastian. Gordon and I sailed against the Columbus celebration ships in 1991, and hopefully meet others who came with him. Wii Seeks was a leader of the group and our boat is proudly named in his honor…a great man and true activist. If you are interested in the story, read Bob Hunter’s book: “Red Blood”.

Yesterday another old friend showed up in for medical treatment from his lighthouse station up north. Paul Whalen just showed up, and he is the best. It was great seeing him again and he hooked us up with others who can certainly help. As all our stops and delays on this adventure have opened up opportunities unimagined. It is interesting how things, even screw-ups, work out for the best if you have the right attitude.

While I’m gone for a few days, Frances, the mate, will stay with the boat and take a deserved break, I hope.

Frances Buchanan is by far the hardest working person I have ever met. She came to me recommended by Scott West and what a find. She is “old” Sea Shepherd and I am proud to be able to sail with her. Young people like Frances give me hope for the future. She is dedicated to the cause like no one’s business and she is not afraid. About I’d guess a hundred pounds soaking wet, she has the backbone of a tiger and heart of a lion. We all could learn from her. I have to admit that my trying to keep up has worn this old man out. For those with doubt about the future, look to humans like Frances to carry the torch. There are others in my past who were great, but this is now, and Frances is out there doing what is necessary for us all to survive.

So the rest of you need to get off the couch and do something… anything positive to help. It is your future after all, make it count. Frances will be thereto set an example. I am sure.

 

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Sullivan Bay

Aug 6th

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We’ve spent the last few days on a salmon farm tour of the Queen Charlotte Straits, British Columbia, Canada. This wilderness teems with eagles, bear, whales, rare seabirds, and wild salmon… well that is now, the future is still in doubt. The last two days we have visited a dozen farms and or proposed farm sites in a very small geographical area… the boat only goes 8 knots so we are not speeding around by any means.

These farms have colorful names like Midsummer Farm, Arrow Pass, Upper Retreat, Blunder Pass, Potts Bay, Glacier Falls, and even a couple called Cecil and Maude. Actually the last two were my favorite. Cecil was empty with abandoned pens and buildings, and Maude was gone, hopefully forever.

Now where they went, and why they were closed is research for another day, but I have my suspicions that once these corporations pollute and contaminate one cove, they move on to another. We also visited two “proposed sites” perhaps getting to view them the last time in their natural state.

Another coincidence appears to be that the marinas and local tie-ups where we stayed the night were all once famous and well known to salmon fishermen. They too have quaint names like Alert Bay, Echo Bay, and Sullivan Bay, but the fisherman are no longer catching fish. As we sit and watch the sun set around communal tables you hear the stories of old. The great catches that all fishermen brag about, but today they all end with: “well I got nothing today”.

At Pierre’s marina where you could once catch 100 pound salmon off the fuel dock; now there is nothing. Today, Pierre has a well-known pig roast each Saturday night to attract the yachting crowd. One has to think back to when the main dish must have been salmon, wild salmon.

Have we humans come to the point that we are just accepting the death of wilderness, or have we just lost the courage to face the unknown?

The crew of Gaianetwork.net are not afraid of the wild. We cherish it, and I relish the fact that nature is in control, not me. We believe that these open pen salmon farms should go, not only for the health and pollution reasons, but for downright primal reasons. Who are we as a species? Must we control and dominate everything, or can we revert back to our ancestors’ way of thinking to become more in tune with nature. Primitive tribes are in touch with their environments; they need to be to survive. Most humans today are not, and we as a species are not better off for it.

A great conservationist Doug Tompkins once explained it like this: if you are walking a path and come to a cliff, do you precede forward to your death, or is the prudent thing to do to take a 180 degree turn and continue forward… just in the opposite direction. Modern thought seems to say step forward no matter what, but I’ll listen to Doug. Progress is not just forward, and we as a species should beware.

It is a question all of us must answer now, or we will pass the problem down the road to our children and grand children. I will make the stand today and hope others will join me.

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Echo Bay

Aug 3,2018

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Spending the night in Echo Bay a beautiful and idyllic harbor and home to Billy Proctor’s museum. Billy and Dr. Morton wrote a book about their experiences in the Broughton Archipelago. I would highly recommend the read.

Today we left Sointula as the local salmon fleet was arriving back home and the place was planning to be fully booked. We enjoyed our stay and got first class boat work done by the Tarkanen Boat yard. The people were talented and experienced.

We left early and first took a look at Swanson Island, a location where a group of First Nations individuals led by Ernest Alfred . After a number of close pass bys and photography the farmers got boats in the water to investigate. I was hoping they would come close so we could have conversations, but they stayed off and watched.

The next stop was Midsummer Farm, also owned by Marine Harvest a huge Norwegian corporation, and one of the five major corporations that own farms around the world. I investigated the companies past efforts in Norway and Chile. I was certainly not impressed by their attitude toward nature. Norway presently has killed off most of their wild stock, and Chile had no stock to begin with, so they are just polluting fiords, and estuaries. In Chile I witnessed Fiords quarantined because of the ISA virus.still loaded with farms. The Chilean salmon farms take most of the local wild catch, thus leaving the local people with little fish to eat. For those who believe that salmon farms feed the “people” and are this good… the people they feed are the rich who frequent sushi bars in places like Ohio. So let’s get over that.

At Midsummer farm we picked up a tail. Now I heard that some high priced security firm had been hired to protect the farms and that I should beware. First, I’m doing nothing wrong, and second the only security in the world that I might fear are Afghan security, and when last I checked, they work with me.

Anyhow they were really clever security and followed at a distance looking like a fishing boat. When I did a “crazy Ivan” and took a trip around an island in Blunden Pass… they appeared speeding around the other side probably wondering what the hell happened to me… busted. Frances got good pictures as they sped by and left for the day.

My feeling about security and tails is they just say a company has something to hide and all the more reason to look. Well that’s what we are here for, so we’ll keep watching, and visual media, and truth are what makes a difference today.

Tomorrow we will be off to new adventures.

As a side note we have had 100% support from the people of Canada against these farms. Maybe it is time these people vote in a new government. We in the states are attempting the same, but that is another story altogether.

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Sointula BC, Canada

July 29, 2018

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The Wii Seeks was pulled out of the water to day to fix a stuffing box issue. While travelling north we started having a problem so turned around to get it looked at professionally. The trip north of Port Hardy is sometimes a wilderness adventure and one doesn’t want to begin with all systems go… I was recently contacted by Paul Whalen an old friend who is lighthouse keeper off Caution Point, a safe harbor offered if need be. Thank you Paul.

We pulled into Sointula by chance and, I have to say this island is one of the very sane human civilizations I’ve come across in a long time. The town, founded by the Finnish settlers in search of a more equal society moved here. Their town motto is equality and co-operation for all and they seen to live it. Everyone I have met, including a lady fisherwoman who recognized me as “sea shepherd” and said: “she wanted nothing to do with what I was selling…

Well I am definitely NOT Sea Shepherd, and it seems I should make up a T-Shirt! Anyhow after explaining things, we started talking salmon farms. She’s definitely opposed to them and has even caught pregnant escaped farmed females in her catches…. I would assume to biologists and others, that this would be concerning?
What sort of new predator have we let loose on coastal eco-systems? Another myth busted that these Franken-fish will not reproduce.

You have to understand that the salmon farmed here and elsewhere are Atlantic Salmon, not indigenous to the area at all. You see Pacific Salmon are obviously smarter and “don’t farm well”. Whether this means that they don’t like swimming circles in their own poop, or just have bad attitudes toward confinement; I don’t know. It is strange that you can’t bring a non-indigenous seed into Canada, but I guess millions of foreign fish are cool as long as money is to be made. Once again human greed wins out.

These fishermen and women, along with the indigenous people get it, why shouldn’t the rest of us. I realize it is government, by nature, that never listens to those individuals who, by experience and basic knowledge know what is going on. They would rather listen to regulation led bureaucrats and book taught scientists who might never have left the Ivory towers where they normally reside. We need good science to make decisions, but sometimes debate lasts longer then the species one is trying to save. My suggestion is to slow down. Playing god has never worked out well for humans. I can name numerous examples… start by asking Australians about Cane Toads.

Anyhow just now a gentleman came by to question me on whether I had any solutions or was I just protesting… My reply was we can only do so much, but the first solution is to get rid of the farms. This will not bring back wild salmon, but it will be a start. The next are forestry practices which we humans have been attempting to address. The next is run off which we all have a part in, and my biggest beef locally is the city of Victoria still dumping raw sewage daily in the local waters. We have heard of the tons of the prescription drugs, and other pollutants that are beginning to show up in everyone’s system. Yes, I told the gentleman, there are lots of issues but we at gaianetwork want the farms gone. Let the larger organizations step in with solutions.

The GMO issue is still undecided by corporations and scientists, but logic tells me to beware. The first tests show rats fed GMO corn form non-malignant tumors, and these farmed fish are covered in tumors. One doesn’t need to be a scientist to make that connection. Go to Dr. Alex Morton’s website to see the viruses and pollutants found in fish sampled in the past. Make up your own mind.

I am not one to dwell on the negative, and towns like Sointula give me hope of what societies can be like through co-operation, common sense, and respect for others. We all share the same planet; let’s all take positive steps to make the world a better place for all. The time for talk is over. Get off your couch and make a difference, I have and you can too.

-Peter

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Alert Bay – Save the Wild Salmon

 

July 26th Alert Bay

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We are presently at anchor at a harbor called Alert Bay BC. Today will be a bit of a late start as the fog this morning is so thick you can’t see more then a few hundred yards… Radar is useful, but we’ll wait a few hours to depart. We have an appointment with First Nations friends in Prince Rupert in a few days, and then we will do what we came up here to do.

And what is that you might ask? We intend to help First Nations, the orca, bear, eagles, and oceans stay wild by getting open pen salmon farms banned from Canada. Other then feeding the rich in sushi bars, there is nothing good I can say about the open pen farms.

Much like the cigarette companies did in the 40s when they gave servicemen free smokes, and thus hooking a whole generation on a substance the companies knew was bad. I propose that the large farming companies are doing the same thing now. Cheap food, made sexy by giant corporations who know all about the pesticides, antibiotics, and not to mention GMO fish being fed GMO food. Does anyone care about public health? In Europe, the initial testing on what GMO food is doing to the public are just starting to come out. You can look them up, but the initial tests are not good… non-malignant tumors in rats fed GMO corn.

I am sure the companies will refute these results and hire scientists of their own, but take a look at pictures of the farmed fish. You decide what to think? I tell people instead of eating farmed salmon, eat the wrapper it’s wrapped in as it might in fact be better for you. Give it up now before it is too late.

After the escape of millions of non-indigenous franken-fish in Washington State, licenses will no longer be issued, and for now, fish farming will be out of the San Juan Islands. I hope for good. I am sorry it took a huge eco disaster to get the public’s attention, but way to go Washington!

Canada should be the next country to put health of their eco-systems ahead of commercial interests. Remember, money is nice, but in the end when the oceans are gone, we can’t eat money.

I believe because of the political situation in Canada, this year might be it for the farms in Canada also. Dr. Alex Morton continues her fight on the Sea Shepherd yacht Martin Sheen, and Gaianetwork will take the M/V WII SEEKS wherever local activists suggest. I am only too sorry that Sea Shepherd continues to sue me for speaking out against them, and this ego squabble hurts both our efforts to fight for the oceans. Petty corporate squabbles like that between Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd have hindered eco-efforts for 40 years. In the past I have spoken out about that also.

Once again, in this hour of need for the oceans it is a shame that eco-corporations need to put money and ego over the environment. It is time we all co-operate no matter our differences.

We have offered our help to all, and will continue to do so in the future. Let the public and history decide.

Although I have had some well publicized legal issues to deal with, I will not let shortsighted individuals stop me from doing what is right. I cannot just sit back and talk about the issues like many pundents, other individuals agree have stepped up to help. I have found able… more then able crew in activist Frances Buchanan to help on board. Elora West, Scott West, Dr Valencic , Dave Howitt, Dr. Myra Finkelstein, Peter Wallerstein, Lisa D., and even Rod Coronado have helped. Grass roots support is across the board especially from those on whose shoulders’ the Sea Shepherd reputation was built.

Next week we will be meeting with Gordon Sebastian and the First Nations activists with whom I worked with in 1991. Grass roots support is growing daily.

It is time for full participation of everyone who cares for the oceans to make a stand. Do your part and spread the word. Ask where fish is caught and make sensible food choices. Corporations, even bad ones need your money to survive. All positive action helps, especially if we can get the general public active. Start with yourself and your passion will spread to others. Light a fire for wild oceans!

Join us and make a difference. All donations to Gaianetwork.net go directly to the campaign.

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An Ode to Art Loring, may his warrior spirit live on.

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Today I am returning to Port Hardy and the M/V Wii Seeks to continue our campaign against open pen salmon farms. I was lucky enough to be invited to the fish camp of the eagle clan of the Gitxsan people on the Skeena River for a few days to renew my soul and discuss the future with an old friend and activist Gordon Sebastian.

Gordon and I worked together back in the 90s when and number of Native People from Canada confronted, and ended the 500 year celebration of the “discovery of America” by Columbus. The government of Spain plus a number of moneyed interests planned to sail replicas of the Nina, Pinta, and the Santa Maria to America to attend celebrations in 22 cities that would last the entire year of 1991. A small group of First Nations warriors from Northern BC , Canada decided to ruin their day. They contacted Sea Shepherd and arranged to lease the ship for a dollar to stop the celebration. The M/V Sea Shepherd II was in the Caribbean looking for driftnets so the boat was available and it was crewed by none other then the original “vegan death squad” and they were game. The celebration in fact began with a huge event in Spain as the ships left for Porto Rico to start the celebrations here.

Now at the time I was an ocean activist while holding a fulltime job and raising a couple of kids so it was not an issue I would have had time to pursue, but I was heavily involved with the sea shepherd conservation society at the time and was asked to help.

First I traveled to Spain for the send off and as things go, spent the night in a pouring rain storm on board the Santa Marie with a night watch woman as there were no rooms in town. This was a huge event, attended by the King of Spain, and I must admit I was not prepared for the amount of people attending. I arrived a day early and toured the ships then visited the two war ships, a frigate and an ocean going tug who were escorting the flotilla. Using my camera and skills I was ultimately invited to lunch with the captain of the frigate. During lunch he was bragging about the event and I asked how he intended to answer Native American critics who “I assumed” would protest their coming. He was not worried as he had been assured a welcome in 22 cities and in his words; “he was not concerned”. To get the ships there safely he had a plan. After coffee he took me to the chartroom and showed me the plan. I must admit it was very clever indeed. They had planned to sail the replicas into a small island port outside Porto Rico and hide them there until the big day of the celebration. It probably would of worked too, if he hadn’t been so cocky as to show me. I, of course, vowed to keep his secret…I lied.

I came back to the states with the film and plan, and that was to be the end of my participation. It was a couple of months later, just before Christmas when I got another call to help. You see the First Nations warriors were hunters, trappers, and fishermen a breed of human that the vegans found disgusting. The poor Natives had no idea I am sure of what they were in for.

This is when I met Art Loring , wing chief for the eagle clan and one of the bravest men I have ever met. It was Art’s bear claw necklace that got me back into the fray. Back in the 90s the vegans ran the engine room of the old northsea trawler, and most of the other crew were glad they did. The brave captain Watson never entered their domain and for good reason. It was an old ship, badly ventilated, stinking of diesel fumes, hot, dark and quite frankly the nearest thing to hell on earth. The vegans, as far as I was concerned could have it, and they claimed it during these times as their own. Even the officers left them alone… as long as that engine ran, we stayed out of their exalted territory.

Well, Art Loring was a logger and trapper and had brought bear claws to include in a ceremonial necklace that he had intended to wear for the confrontation. Trouble arose when he went to the engine room to get a claw drilled for the necklace, and all hell broke loose… I was called to establish peace.

The vegans were refusing to operate the boat with the Natives on board… a stand off of major proportion. Now I had always had good relationships with the vegan tribe and gave them the respect they deserved, something Paul Watson never did. Watson had his own galley and cooked the food he wanted with little or no regard for the rest of us. He often went out of his way to show he was boss; like in Alaska on the Devine Wind when I traded vegan cookies for a halibut. We were a conservation ship, not a vegan ship so this was not the end of the world per say, but to make his point the captain butchered the fish on deck for all to see, even removing the beating heart to taunt the young idealistic crew. Now at the time I was all for eating the fish, and I am for it today, but the “beating heart” taunt was even too much for me. To say the least in 1991 Watson had little respect of the crews’ numerous indiscretions, and most I am sure they never forgot.

Anyhow I was brought in to negotiate a deal. First I went to the vegans and made the promise that the galley would remain vegan and that I would explain things to the natives so horrible things like the necklace incident did not happen again. Then I went to meet the natives.

To this day I remember them gathering in the parking lot around the bow of the ship. My first question was; who was the chief so I knew who could make the deal… 15 hands rose as they were all chiefs! This began the adventure that 30 years later brought me to Art’s clan territory.

I write about this campaign in my upcoming book but to make a long story short: We made lots of threats and were dogged by the US coast guard the whole time. We pretended to chase the replicas around the Caribbean until crunch time. Then we went to the island the Spanish captain had told me about, and low and behold caught the replicas in open water, and chased them into a private marina on Porto Rico blowing the planned arrival and ultimately the whole celebration, not only on Porto Rico, but it was cancelled altogether. Columbus was never idolized again and history was changed… all because of Art having the guts to stand up and take the ships. Two others and a member of our crew joined him, and it helped change our view of history.

The Gitxsan went home with an apology to them and all native people signed by the government of Spain. To get this apology there was a major stand off, with cops , divers, and a swat team posed to shoot us at any sign of trouble. Quite exciting for a few hours, but it all ended peacefully, Art and his compatriots got home for Christmas, the vegans got their boats back, and by coincidence I got audited the next year by the IRS… I assumed it was just a coincidence.

In the following years I have often asked other Native American activists I have worked with why they weren’t there? Art, Gordon, Wii Seeks and the others were from northern BC… a bit out of the “Original Blast zone” so to speak… I never got a good answer but truth be told, a small band of brave warriors from the forests of Canada made a stand against colonialism… led by Art Loring that changed history.

His children and grand children will no longer suffer the indignity of Columbus being idolized, and like any event where individuals take on governments and win, the incident hardly made the press. Only the few that do know the truth, were there.

I was honored to be able to relate the story to his family and clan, and I hope it will stand as an example to all that individuals change history. The fight is a story for another time, but I am proud to be associated with the event. The Gitxsan now control their territory, and are now fighting for control of their river.

The Porto Rican police, and anti-terrorist unit called Art the “mean one with the stick”. I called him a friend and know that his spirit continues to lead his people, and hopefully the rest of us into the future.

Peter Jay Brown

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The More the Merrier!!!

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It is great to hear that the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has announced that the Martin Sheen would again be assisting Dr. Alex Morton on her mission against Salmon farming in the Northwest. Dr. Morton is a hero. http://www.alexandramorton.ca  Last year a group of First Nation’s elders joined Alex in their opposition to the BC salmon farms, landing the issue in the Canadian Courts. This coming summer, 2018, could possibly be the tipping point Alex and others need for total victory. Having worked on the issue for a number of years myself, I feel we need to keep this rebellion going now more then ever.

The continuing research on farmed salmon shows not only the devastating effects on wild salmon, but the adverse effect on numerous Northwest First Nation’s cultures, and wilderness… the time is now to act.

At the same time the public is becoming more informed on “the health of the food” issues. GMO, antibiotics, and pesticides are just a few of the added ingredients advocates want us to forget as we are enjoying ourselves out for an evening of sushi… the perception of the health benefits of these franken-fish needs to be squashed before something like a “mad salmon” brain disease starts sweeping the rich and sheik sushi connoisseurs across the nation. I’m no scientist… I’m just looking at history…

We at http://www.gaianetwork.net hope to up the ante just a bit this summer in the northwest. In association with grassroots activists, old Sea Shepherd cohorts, and First Nation friends we hope to add yet another voice to the rebellion. So no matter our differences, it is great to see the “rebel Captain flying the skull and crossbones” on board again… although sadly I am quite sure the captain will not attend.

Due to our present “ego” issues being decided in court, I am sure that I will not be as welcomed by the rebel captain’s team, as they will be welcomed by me. I believe in the mission, and we from www.gaianetwork.net will be there to represent the salmon, human drama aside.

Dr Alex, and any other interested parties are welcome. If you want to get involved, this is an all-volunteer venture… what’s stopping you?

We’ll have a ship in the area all summer brisling with research gear and cameras. Old school! We’ve funded a small work craft to start, and we’ll raise the money to do more with your help. Tell your friends and visit : www.gaianetwork.net . Or contact me at peterjaybrown@mac.com to help.

In this ever-changing litigious environment I think it important we do not lose sight of the prize. It took years getting the public’s attention and now we all must put differences aside and slam the door on those intent on destroying the oceans. Salmon farming lost in Washington state, and we must all help the Canadians in their up coming battles to outlaw similar farms there. I am not as eloquent as Al Bore, but: “our very future depends on it!”

We at www.gaianetwork.net will be making further announcements in the near future as we work to get others to join us. Thank you